Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Got Chemicals?

I remembered today that my parents used to pay for lawn care service through “ChemLawn” when I was growing up. The idea behind the company was that chemicals would keep the lawn looking its “natural” best. How ironic.

Imagine a company now being called ChemWater or ChemClothing. It wouldn’t fly. But just because a company isn’t called ChemClothing doesn’t mean that isn’t, in fact, what it is. In other words, some pretty big and popular clothing manufacturers (most, in fact) use buckets and barrels of chemicals in their clothing production. In my first blog, I mentioned how the typical conventional t-shirt contains 1/3 pound of pesticides. Yikes . . . and yuck.

So check labels and buy organic and Made in the USA. I'm Organic ( is one of my favorite green t-shirt suppliers.

Question of the blog: Do you check labels along with ingredients lists?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What’s That Smell?

Debby, my green guru from Real Green Goods (, doesn’t sell anything through her store/site that contains fragrance. Apparently, parfum is pervasive—it's in almost everything from shampoo to sun block. Funny how we associate certain scents with clean, even with the source of that scent is probably quite “dirty.”

Actually, it’s not funny at all.

Yesterday, I was on a mission to replace most of the beauty items in my house with fragrance-free items and it was quite a challenge. Eventually, I found shampoo, conditioner, soap, tooth paste, mouth wash, lotion, and a few others things. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share my thoughts on each with you. In the meantime, I’ll tell you about my latest find: Biokleen (

My mother, the most generous person on the planet—really, I’ve checked—is always coming over to visit and bearing gifts, usually of the utilitarian variety like dishwashing liquid. Even though my Mom understands we’re green, she doesn’t typically bring over green products. It’s hard to say anything negative when someone gives you a gift, and Mark and I usually donate her donations to charity (although I never really feel right about giving away something I won’t use because it’s not green enough . . . . but it’s use it or waste it, and wasting it isn’t really an option).

Anyway, my Mom showed up recently with Biokleen dishwashing liquid. I’d never heard of it and was somewhat suspicious. But it works like a charm and almost made washing the dishes a pleasure instead of a chore. The company was founded in 1989, so they’ve had some time to get it right; plus, you know they haven’t just jumped on the green band wagon.

By the way, here’s a link to the product:

Question of the blog: How do you feel about the pervasiveness of parfum?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Do You Need an Eco Education? [I Did!]

I grew up with one optimistic parent and one pessimistic parent and find myself fluctuating between the two extremes. When it comes to green products, however, I’m utterly optimistic. At least I was . . . until I went to the Go Green Expo ( in New York City this past weekend.

Wait—don’t get me wrong! The eco movement and many of its products are making great and admirable strides in taking care of Mother Earth. [Note: I’ll share some of my favorite green finds from the show in upcoming blogs.] What I’m talking about are all those big (and small) businesses trying to capitalize on the green movement to make some green of a different in-the-bank variety. These people don’t really care about the earth and often try to mask rather conventional products with natural-looking packaging and hot button key words and phrases.

They are green villains.

I so wanted to believe that all “green” products are truly green that I didn’t always bother to read the ingredients list or ask all the pertinent questions . . . and someone recently set me straight. Her name is Debby and she’s the owner of the earth-friendly department store, Real Green Goods ( Debby graciously invited me to participate with her as a Go Green Expo exhibitor and, while we were there, she gave me an eco education.

And here’s the secret: Don’t be fooled by clever marketing tactics and question everything. Ask things like, Where’s it made? Is it organic? Is it fair trade? Does it have “fragrance?” Is it genetically modified? Some of the answers will be found right on the packaging but you’ll occassionally have to call the company directly. When that happens, you may get answers or you may not. Some companies—even some "green" media darlings—won’t, for instance, reveal all their ingredients. If they won’t, you shouldn’t give them any of your hard-earned green.

Don't have time to do all that research? Prefer one source for the best in green living? Look to Debby for your own eco education. Debby can personally vouch for all the 400 or so products (400!!!) on She’s already done the questioning for us and only carries products from companies that give her the right answers and meet her highest-of-the-high standards.

Because of her, we can all graduate with a degree in green—and with honors, naturally.

Question of the blog: Have you been fooled by misleading green marketing claims about a product or products you’ve purchased?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Did You Know Gotham’s Going Green?

I like to make a contribution to the green movement (in the form of a posting) every Monday through Friday, but you won’t hear from me tomorrow. I’ll be in-transit to New York City which, in honor of Earth Day, is hosting its first ever consumer eco show this weekend: Go Green Expo ( I can’t wait to tell you all about it on Monday . . . unless, of course, I see you there.

Question of the blog: Did your city/town do anything special to celebrate Earth Day?

How Do We Keep Green From Becoming a Fad?

I was talking with an acquaintance recently—someone who is, himself, quite green—and I was sharing the idea of opening up an eco department store in town. His reaction totally shocked me: “I think folks will tire of the green idea soon,” he said.

For me, green is a way of life, not an idea or a trend or a fad or something I could ever tire of. What’s the point of recycling today if you’re going to toss your cans and bottles and paper into the landfills tomorrow?

I can see how it’s confusing for people. Take Oprah ( for example. I saw her green show earlier this year and loved that the green message was getting out to so many people. But a show a day or two later talked about fashion, and none of it was green. I remember, in particular, Oprah fawning over a wrinkle-free white button-down shirt. The amount of chemicals needed to make a shirt wrinkle-free is astounding, making it anything but green.

So here's one way that green becomes a fad. Talk the talk today, and walk a different walk tomorrow and it's easy to forget that green steps have to always be taken. It’s up to those of us who truly care—down to our very cores—to lead by example. They say children learn more by what they see than by what they’re told . . . and I think the same is true of adults. If your company doesn’t recycle, you should recycle what you can from your office. If your best friend doesn’t bring a cloth bag when you shop together, bring one for her. If your parents insist on a green lawn, buy them natural weed killers and fertilizers.

I have a feeling it’s the big messages and the subtle reminders that will keep green from becoming a fad. After all, it’s something we do for life—literally.

By the way, I don’t mean to harp on Oprah—I obviously watch her show on occasion—but I caught her Earth Day show this week and was absolutely flabbergasted (in all the wrong ways) that the show opened with Julia Roberts and then continued with Sandra Bullock and then ended with a quick chat with Nobel Peace Prize-winner Al Gore. Two actors giggling their way through green segments before the real environmental champion is introduced? I’m still trying to figure that one out.

In the meantime, I'm just glad the green show aired at all. Now let's hope Oprah doesn't promote wrinkle-free shirts during today's show.

Question of the blog: What are some specific ways we can keep green top-of-mind every day for everyone?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Want to See a Pretty Picture?

You may know that, recently, my cloth bag company, EcoVixen (, teamed up with positive apparel company, KarmaThreads (, to produce the “Karma” bag. It’s made of 80 percent recycled cotton and 20 percent recycled plastic bottles and has a cheerful yet very cheeky design. The response has been overwhelming and we’re almost sold out with our first print run. It's a victory for everyone who is fashion-conscious and environmentally friendly!

Just yesterday, KarmaThread's added several pretty pictures of the "Karma" bag to the company's website. See the bag for yourself (it's guaranteed to make you smile):

Question of the blog: What’s most important to you when you buy a cloth bag?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Have You Had Your Green Breakthrough?

I’ve been committed to the environment for the last 18 years. Back when the light first dawned on me, it wasn’t easy being green. I remember pleading with my boss in my first real job out of college to let me start a recycling program. The deal was that I, personally, had to remove all the paper and bottles and cans and bring them to the recycling center . . . on my own time. And I did it . . . happily. [Well, except the time I was accidentally locked in the recycling center, but let’s not go there.]

If you watch the news, the end is near. No one cares, and we’re all doomed. But I have a different perspective. Over the last 18 years, it’s gotten so much easier to go green. Recycling, for many companies, is a given. Cloth bags aren’t rare sightings. Compost bins are popping up on street corners. Eco-fashion is actually fashionable. It’s a new world, and I want to celebrate all we’ve accomplished.

Yeah, yeah, I know, we’ve still got a ways to go, but it’s so much healthier and more encouraging to acknowledge how far we’ve come. I was just talking on the phone with my Dad and he said something that shocked me: “I was at the grocery store—with my cloth bags, of course—and I saw a mother leaving with a cart full of plastic bags and I thought: when is she going to learn?”

Wow. My Dad said that? My Dad? I believe that’s called a breakthrough. In this case, it’s a green breakthrough. What more could I ask for on Earth Day?

Question of the blog: What was your green breakthrough?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Are You a Green Bargain Shopper?

Yesterday, Mark and I needed sunscreen and dashed into our local Target ( to pick up a fresh supply. While there, we couldn’t resist participating in what we call “perimeter patrol.” Any of you who regularly shop at Target know all the sale items are generally displayed at the end of each aisle, around the perimeter of the store.

During our hunt for green bargains, we found lots of Method ( products on sale. We’ve been using Method’s eco-conscious soaps and lotions for some time now and we’re always happy to see its products on sale. We were even happier, however, to find another product on sale: Flor ( carpet tiles. Flor is a great product that lets you be creative with carpet tiles you can mix and match and use in any pattern you desire.

And here’s the green part: Flor tiles are made in the USA, most face constructions are nylon or natural fibers like hemp or wool, and backings are a composite, made up of some recycled materials. They also have the lowest VOC (new carpet smell) in the industry . . . and they are recyclable.

All this and they were on sale at Target. Actually, they were on super clearance. Each box of six tiles normally retails for $59.99 and we bought four boxes for $7.49 each. So much for green costing lots of green.

I’ll end this with a shopping tip from me to you. The Flor boxes were actually marked $41.95, but one box had a sticker that said $7.49. Since Target has all those scanners around that tell you the price of an object when you scan its barcode, we took all the boxes over and found they were all $7.49. Not wanting to be greedy, we put half the boxes back on the shelf--even though we really wanted them all (hey, I believe in Karma!). Before we walked away, I noticed a woman came over, looked at the tiles, saw the $41.95 price tag, and put a box in her cart. “You know,” I said to her, “They actually ring up for $7.49. You should get all of them.” And she did.

Question of the blog: What’s your favorite green bargain shopping story?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Is Your Trash Green?

Several years ago, I noticed that a lot of the food I was buying was, eventually, making its way to my trash can. The light bulb went off and I realized I needed to be a more conscientious consumer. My solution was simple and it’s worked like a charm: Every Friday I make a list of the food Mark and I will eat for the upcoming week, including all breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Since we prepare every meal ourselves (we eat out maybe once a month) it’s a long and detailed list.

But it’s worth the small effort.

This exercise has gotten me to think about so many different things: Am I getting the proper nutrition each day? How can I best use left-overs? How can I be smart in my food shopping to get the most out of what I buy? For instance, I can use that bag of carrots in the salad and the stir-fry and as a snack, ensuring none of it will end up in the garbage.

Life is also less stressful this way. I’m not worried about what I can have for lunch or if I have what I need to make dinner. Of course, there are times when I don’t want to eat what’s scheduled and, in those instances, I just swap meals or see what else is in the pantry. It’s never even been an issue.

Just this past Monday, another benefit of this approach hit home. As I took the trash out—one half-full bag—I looked over and saw that our next-door neighbor, a single man, had six bags of trash. One person creates six bags of trash and two people create just half of one? I was saddened by his behavior but really proud of Mark and me. Then is dawned on me that I haven’t carried out more than one bag in a very long time.

In addition to buying smart, and using everything, we recycle absolutely everything we can—even the plastic bag our Ezekiel bread ( comes in. We don’t compost yet (and, when we do, I’m sure we won’t have any trash) but I do save as much as I can for the birds and make weekly deposits in our back yard.

The ironic thing here is that I live close to a very large dump, and it just happens to be one that will take trash of any type—including hazardous waste—from anywhere. It’s not uncommon for me to see large trucks with license plates from all states, barreling down the main road.

So here’s my challenge to you: Be a more conscientious consumer and stop sending your waste my way! We can do this if we all do this together.

Question of the blog: How green is your trash?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Do You See (Inspiration) Angels?

Warning: This posting isn't about green living at all. It's about healthy living, so I thought you might give me a pass.

A few years ago, before I went freelance, I worked a strange work schedule and left for the office at all hours of the day. Whatever time I left, I seemed to pass a man walking on the main road near my house. He was rather obese (no judgment!) and, every time I saw him, I wanted to cheer him on.

Then I went freelance and rarely drove down that main road during the day. Recently, though, I had an occasion to go that way during a weekday . . . and I saw the man, looking trim and healthy, walking a dog and walking next to a very pretty woman. I wanted to cheer and honk and stop the car and give him a high five, maybe even a high ten.

I just drove by, though--I'm not one for making a scene--but he did leave quite a lasting impression. I think of him as an inspiration angel; in this case, he's a reminder to live healthy and to not let an obstacle, no matter how large, distract you from your goals.

Question of the blog: As you race through life, do you see (inspiration) angels?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Should You Hold a Green Grudge?

Airing Dirty Laundry Alert: I ran into my parents the other day at the grocery store and, as I talked with them at their car, I glanced in the back seat and saw . . . plastic bags. My heart sank for a second and then I got mad. Well, I got pissed.

You all know by now that I run EcoVixen ( and that I’ve been passionate about using cloth bags for the past 18 years, since I was still a young kid living with my parents. To give them credit, they do typically use cloth bags—my Dad is a proud “Man of the Cloth Bag”—but I was still surprised to see so much plastic. And I was hurt.

In my pissed-off state, I wasn’t exactly nice to them. In the days since, I can’t stop thinking about the interaction. Should I have been upset? Or should I have just bit my tongue and looked the other way?

Here’s what I’ve come up with—if your passion is something personal (like photography) it can stay personal, but if your passion extends beyond you (e.g. those of us who care about the environment know everybody has to step up and do their part because it impacts all of us) then you should be able to say something to encourage others to see the light—in the case of the environment, I guess we want them to see the green light.

Here’s what I’ve also come up with—you should always be nice as you try to enlighten and encourage others, especially to those you love.

Question of the blog: Do you agree it’s fair for those of us with a green conscious to impose that conscious on those without it?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Are You Spending Your Refunded Green on Some Green?

It’s Tax Day (I hope I’m not the first to tell you) and, as I do annually, I’m sending Uncle Sam a big check today. At least, this year, I have a refund to look forward to sometime over the next few months.

A refund? The idea seems so foreign to me. Money back? How exciting. A check with my name on it? You have my undivided attention.

I’ve been hearing people talk about all the elaborate ways they are going to spend their refunds. Travel and big screen TVs seem to be the two most popular choices. Of course, there’s also the group that talks about investments and savings accounts, but let’s not listen to them . . . this is practically found money, and we all know that found money can be spent without any guilt.

Okay, there might be some guilt, but only if you don’t spend your refunded green in a green way. That’s right: I’m suggesting we all spend our refunds on environmentally friendly items, and here are my Top 5 Favorite Green Things:

1. An organic mattress. Do you know what you’re sleeping next to for eight hours a night? No, I’m not talking about your cat, I’m talking about all the toxins in your conventional mattress. It’s enough to make you sick—literally and figuratively. When Mark and I upgraded our mattress, we both started to sleep more soundly, knowing we'd done something good for the earth and very good for us.

My favorite source for an organic mattress: The Clean Bedroom (

2. A Toyota Prius. Okay, okay, I know the typical refund won’t pay for a Prius but it will certainly cover part or all of the down payment. We got a Prius a few months ago and it’s such a great investment . . . plus, I love driving by a gas station and watching those SUV drivers spending all kinds of cash at the pump.

My favorite source for a Toyota Prius: Where else? Toyota (

3. An all-organic wardrobe. The average cotton t-shirt contains 1/3 pound of pesticides. Yes, you read that correctly. Do you really want that next to your skin? I don’t think so! This is especially true for your underwear, which gets just as close as things can get to some rather important bits and pieces. And who wants pesticides there?

My favorite source(s) for organic clothing: Karma Threads ( just unveiled two fantastic organic tees and, of course, I’m still a sucker for the designs offered by I’m Organic (

My favorite source for organic undies: Gaiam (

4. An all-organic pantry. Fresh, local, and organic fruits and vegetables are available at a premium this time of year. Instead of passing them up in favor of cheap produce from a world away, use your refund and splurge on that bunch of organic Kale, organic carrots, and everything else that looks good. And then fill up the rest of your cart with organic staples for your pantry. I started a raw-until-dinner program last year and love it; I feel and look great and attribute a lot of that to fresh, organic fare and organic staples. Give it a try!

My favorite sources for organic goodies: Trader Joe’s (, Whole Foods (, and—especially—all local health food stores that need our support!

5. Cloth bags. You know my real passion is cloth bags, which is why I started my own cloth bag company earlier this year. My suggestion for the best way to spend your refund is to purchase enough cloth bags so that you never have to use another paper or plastic bag again . . . and, with any leftover refund, you might want to buy several cloth bags for friends and family members as well.

My favorite source for cloth bags: You have to ask? EcoVixen ( [There are other bags, of course, but PLEASE make sure you buy bags with a green pedigree, made in the United States.]

Question of the blog: How are you spending your refund?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Are We All Part of Oprah’s “Old” Earth?

I watched part of Oprah ( today while I worked out. Please know that I like Oprah and thank her for introducing a lot of light into our lives. Perhaps it's time to return the favor?

Oprah was interviewing Mariah Carey ( and most of the interview wasn’t about Mariah’s singing, or breaking Elvis’ record for the most #1 singles by an individual, or even her new album (although, yes, I did hear Miss Carey’s unique definition of E=MC2 several times). Nope, as you would expect from Oprah, most of the conversation revolved around Mariah’s tiny waistline . . . and it obviously wasn’t a spontaneous observation as the show included several taped “Here’s what I eat, and here’s how I work out” segments of Mariah in her NYC apartment with her chef-slash-personal trainer.

What does all this have to do with the environment? Well, I’m getting to that! With so many important issues to discuss, why do we care about the current weight of a singer? And why do we glorify things like having a 3,000-square-foot closet?

Oprah has done past shows on green living (which is fantastic) but I wish Oprah walked more of the walk. She shouldn’t put as much attention as she does on the superficial. Mariah may be skinny, but is she healthy? I’d rather hear about how eating organic, local produce makes her feel better, how someone so rich still turns off the light switch every time she leaves the room, and how being truly emancipated means she’s no longer concerned with having a closet just for her lingerie.

I’m looking for true, relevant conversations about issues that matter to all of our lives.

Oprah’s fixation with weight has been a public obsession for years. I just hope all her “enlightenment” from Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose will really change her and some of the angles of her show. I understand no one is perfect and that we’re all on a journey, even Oprah, but I sometimes have an issue with Oprah singing the virtues of life’s purpose while being so obviously influenced by the way people look. If she does change, the next time Miss Carey is on her show, maybe the conversation will dip far below the surface. That is, after all, where the truth lives.

Question of the blog: Can you be enlightened and superficial?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Have You Got The “It” Cloth Bag?

iVillage Inc. (, a division of NBC Universal, recently named EcoVixen’s “Dick & George” bag as a “Top 10 Eco Bag.” The bag was chosen for its witty saying and masculine appeal.

You might know that EcoVixen ( is my baby, and this acknowledgement is really thrilling. I launched the company earlier this year and to already be part of such a high-profile list is a testament to the bag’s design and its message.

I created the “Dick & George” bag for my husband after noticing there were no cloth bags for men in the market. Men who are fashion-conscious and eco-friendly have a hard time carrying a bag that’s overtly female, as many of the cloth bags are. But they didn’t have a choice—until now.

The “Dick & George” bag—whose name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to our current VP and President—is an oversized black bag that says “I’m a Man of the Cloth Bag” on one side and “Not Paper. Not Plastic.” on the other.

It’s also made in the United States. It was really important to me that this bag have a green pedigree. The cloth bags you see that cost 99 cents aren’t made in the United States and typically aren’t made of environmentally friendly fabrics. When I decided to do this, I committed to do it the right way, and to be as green as possible.

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that billions of plastic bags end up in landfills every year and that each one takes 1,000 years to biodegrade. I’m beyond happy my contribution to the green movement seems to have struck a chord!

Question of the blog: Do you think plastic bags should be banned?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Is Your Air Green?

Yesterday, we got an air purifier for our bedroom. When the box arrived, it was an exciting moment. Of course, as with most things in life, the good is balanced with the bad—when we opened the box, the air purifier was dented.

It’s funny, because while I’m a perfectionist in my professional life (and some parts of my personal life, too) I’m much more relaxed about the house. Each room in our home is actually filled with scratched, cracked, dented, and otherwise damaged furniture we got from the Crate&Barrel ( outlet that’s just a few minutes away. In other words, we’re not returning the air purifier. It works just fine and I don’t want to use any additional energy to send it back and get a new one.

But let’s get to the point: I could take a deep breath as I was going to sleep last night, knowing the air I was breathing was cleaner than it had been the night before. Dent or not, that felt great.

Question of the blog: What do you think of air purifiers?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Do You Buy Green Travel Souvenirs?

I’ve been a travel writer for the past seven years, writing for AAA (, TripAdvisor (, Sherman's Travel (, Grand Circle Travel (, and many other travel companies.

Yesterday, I was talking with a colleague from Hideaways (—a luxury travel club—about what I consider to be the greatest green travel souvenir: cloth bags. If you’ve read the past postings of this blog, you’ll know I own a cloth bag company called EcoVixen ( As much as I’d love to think that someone would buy ten of my bags to shop with, I know that’s not realistic. Even I carry bags that aren’t my own—it’s part of the fun.

Whenever I travel, I pick up a cloth bag as a souvenir. It’s the most useful souvenir there is as I typically use it to carry back all the extra stuff I seem to accumulate on a trip (like the little soaps and lotions the hotels provide). Once I’m home, I continue to use the bags whenever and wherever I shop. Each time, they are a fun reminder of my trip while they help me to be environmentally friendly.

Not bad for a travel souvenir!

Question of the blog: What kind of green souvenirs do you buy?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What Color is Your Office?

I’ve been working at home for the past year. I’m an editorial and marketing writer and also run my green business, EcoVixen (, out of my home. Several months ago, I started writing for WHY Magazine (—it’s a great resource for work-at-homers.

WHY conducted a poll recently and found that 52 percent of work-at-homers have taken steps towards a green office. I find that statistic thrilling. I have a mostly green home office and, while it’s sometimes hard to pay extra for 100 percent recycled paper or it takes longer to track down vintage filing cabinets, it’s immensely gratifying to know you’re doing the right thing.

Speaking of the right thing, I like WHY Magazine so much that EcoVixen is going to sponsor an upcoming issue; later this month, WHY readers will also receive a special supplement about the best ways to get a green office.

Question of the blog: Whether you work at home or away from home, how green is your office?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Will I See You in Boston?

Boston’s annual Gift Show ( is taking place today (well, it started on Saturday and continues through tomorrow). I’ll be there with Karma Threads (, doing our part to promote looking good while doing good.

By the way, Karma Threads is introducing a new line of organic cotton t-shirts and they are, like the rest of their shirts, absolutely stunning . . . and with a positive message, naturally.

Question of the blog: Will I see you there?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Is “Mint Green” Still “Green”?

I was just shopping at Target ( and noticed a woman at the check-out buying a massive amount of green cleaning products. I was really impressed. In an earlier post, I mentioned how I’ve switched over almost exclusively to green cleaning products because the conventional products tend to be toxic.

Anyway, back to the woman buying all the green cleaning products—she left with a cart-full of plastic bags! She’s what I call “mint green”—a pale version of truly green living. Her actions made me wonder: Does she care about the environment in general or just her own personal environment?

This reminded me of a time in college where I had a shock at the grocery store. One of my favorite classes was called “Environmental Philosophy” and we spent each class debating about what was and was not good and bad for the environment. My professor was articulate and passionate in his arguments for green living. And then, one day, I saw him leaving the grocery store with a cart-full of plastic bags. I realized he talked the great green talk, but he didn’t walk the walk. I was crushed, but he did teach me a great lesson.

The woman at Target? Well, she just reminded me that the green movement still has a ways to go.

Question of the blog: Is being “mint green” enough of a green commitment?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Do You Netti?

I don’t know if it’s allergies or stress, but I’ve had a headache for several days. I don’t get headaches, so this is unusual for me. And very unpleasant.

A few months ago, I bought a Netti pot—which is a vessel you fill with warm water and salt that cleanses the sinuses. I’ll admit: It’s strange to have salted water go up one nostril and come out the other—especially knowing where it’s traveling in the process—but, strange or not, it works.

Headache gone.

Question of the blog: If you Netti, what’s your experience been like?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Will Gore Turn That White House Green?

I don’t want to get political but—I’m feeling reckless—let’s get go there. As someone who runs a green business and writes a green blog, it’s probably fairly obvious that the environment is one of my top concerns . . . and during an election year, “top concerns” become more important than ever as the candidates we choose to lead us need to have clear visions on the ways they can tackle the issues behind our concerns.

I live in New Hampshire and was appalled at the amount of junk mail I received from the candidates over the weeks leading up to the primary. My father met Senator Obama several times and, once, asked him why his flyers weren’t printed on recycled paper. The Senator’s response, according to my Dad, was shock and he said he’d look into it. I wonder if he did. [After our primary, the junk mail stopped, so I have no way to know . . . although I’m not complaining.]

To be fair, none of the flyers I received from any candidates were printed on recycled paper. To me, it was another case of politicians failing to walk the talk. But Senator Obama might have just redeemed himself in my eyes today by making a “commitment” to offer Al Gore a major role within his administration to combat global warming. I would love to see that White House turn green!

Question of the blog: Does the environment influence the way you’ll vote in November?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Is Anything Ever Perfect?

I’m a perfectionist, which is really difficult to be. I’m hard on everyone but most especially myself. I have the highest standards and, when they’re not met, I can be terribly disappointed . . . and not all that fun to be around.

Recently, I picked up my latest shipment of eco-friendly cloth bags for my company, EcoVixen (, and the copy on one side of one design is fuzzy. I thought, for sure, that the company who prints and sews the bags for me would apologize profusely and redo the bags.

I was wrong.

They claim the bags meet their high standards and that, in essence, I am too much of a perfectionist. Huh? I want my contribution to the green movement to be right—if “right” means “perfect” well then that's what I want. But they won’t budge and won’t take the bags back, which leaves me in a terrible predicament.

I’ve decided to sell the bags as 1/3-off seconds; this cuts into my already-small profit margin, of course, but I can’t stand behind the bags as first-quality products. I’m actually shocked at my bag company’s reaction and may not ever work with them in the future, at least not in terms of printing.

Here’s the twist to this story: I’ve suffered two losses in the last two weeks and am trying to keep this entire thing in perspective. Is anything ever perfect? And is it worth trying to attain perfection at every turn? Is good enough actually good enough?

Question of the blog: What’s your take on perfection?